Parenting Teens Through a Major Relocation
If you and your family are planning a residential move, you know, there are many details to sort through and put on your to-do list. An essential part of your move is to make sure every family member has a smooth transition from your current house to your brand new one.
Relocating can be especially challenging for a teen since they seek stability and fitting in with a group. Teens often perceive moving as a threat to both. Here are some tips for parenting a teen through a significant move.
Deal With the Dynamics of Change
No matter how good a change may be, it typically creates a sense of loss for the past. All family members will deal with this sense of loss, and teens deal with it in their own unique way. Encourage everyone, including teens, to talk about their hopes, fears, and grief.
Take your teen's needs into account as much as possible. Allow them to decide about some things at the new home. For instance, let them decorate their room, so they have some ownership in the process. Having some control will help them manage the change better.
Teens will pick up emotional cues from you. If your teen acts out before and after the move, stay calm. Be patient as they process and work through their feelings. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and be a good listener; if they don’t speak to you, perhaps they will talk with a coach or other adult outside the family.
Avoid feeling guilty when your teen is unhappy. Teens may interpret this as uncertainty and become more anxious.
Believe in yourself and your ability to adjust. Your teen will pick up on your confidence. Let them know you believe they can thrive in their new home, as well.
If possible, schedule the move for the summer. Teens will have an opportunity to begin the school year in their new school. Moving in the middle of the school year can be more disruptive.
Stay in Touch
Work with your teen to make a plan to stay in touch with their old friends through Facetime, text, and email. Schedule a visit back to your old home before you move. Your teen will realize that the separation from friends doesn't have to be permanent and will have something to look forward to during the move.
Take some time to explore the new surroundings before moving, if possible, or soon after the moving truck leaves. Walk around the neighborhood, meet teachers and coaches, locate places of interest and favorite restaurants. This helps your teen to be comfortable in the new community.
Plug Academic Gaps
The teachers at our child’s new school may teach the same subjects differently than their current school. The new school also may be ahead or behind your child's knowledge. Keep in touch with your child’s teachers to quickly address any academic gaps through tutoring or self-study.
If you are moving with a special needs child who currently attends a public school, you can save time by choosing a public school in your new city. An IEP or 504 Plan stays the same if your teen transitions from one public school to another.
Urge your teen to become involved in activities in their new school and community that match their interests. Whether it’s an art or academic club, team, or extracurricular class, encourage them to get involved. This is a great way to meet new friends.
Your teen will likely come around. A survey of teens who had just moved indicated that 69 percent of boys and 83 percent of girls had adjusted to the move well. Most also had made new friends.
Moving the Family
If you are coordinating plans for your family move, contact us today for a free estimate. We can help with the moving process. From packing to heavy lifting, our moving professionals can make your relocation easier.